Sunday, 9 July 2017

Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais (Young Adult, 10/10E)

 6th July 2017, Pushkin Children's Books, 288 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Pushkin
Awarded the Gold, Silver and Bronze trotters after a vote by their classmates on Facebook, Mireille, Astrid and Hakima are officially the three ugliest girls in their school, but does that mean they’re going to sit around crying about it?

Well… yes, a bit, but not for long! Climbing aboard their bikes, the trio set off on a summer roadtrip to Paris, their goal: a garden party with the French president. As news of their trip spreads they become stars of social media and television. With the eyes of the nation upon them the girls find fame, friendship and happiness, and still have time to consume an enormous amount of food along the way.

Nayu's thoughts 
Before I get into the book I must point out that this is a translation of a French novel - and the author herself translated it! That's cool ^o^  One day I hope to read it. I prefer the original title which in English is The Three Queens, as it's much nicer than piglettes, but it's the girls who call themselves piglettes, they turn the derogatory term into something meaningful. Still don't like it though, which is why this book didn't quite get full marks. 

It is a spectacular read. Cyber and real life bullying sadly is a current issue for many people in school and out of it. I know a lot of people who have been bullied at some point in their lives, including myself, and it's hard to deal with. What I like is how the three friends deal with it. Mireille appears happy go lucky but that's her way of coping with it. Her friends Astrid and Hakima have different coping mechanism, but they are united to proving to the world that they can do Great Things! Which they do. Selling sausages on a road trip is a little crazy, but it works (most of the time, they survive the downtimes.

Given the difference in age for Hakim (12) and Mireille/Astrid (16), I was intrigued how Hakim would get permission from her reticient parents. She does because her brother is the chaperone! Kader has his own problems, dealing with amputation after serving in the military, and on the trip even he needs help which Mireille gives and keeps quiet about. He acts as a responsible adult to help the girls get through the many miles and towns on their journey to Paris which does have a purpose, not one I exactly liked but you'll see by the end the purpose changes because of what happens on the trip. 

I loved Hakim, probably because she did need looking after quite a bit. I figured out what was happening to her before Mireille did - it's so sweet the girls rally round for her, and how Kader despite not being told about Hakim's issues worked it out for himself. There are some touching scenes between the brother and sister which made my heart swell with pride. 

There is a saboteur on the road - I promise they get their comeuppance eventually, but their actions did mean that the general public helped the girls out a lot more, which in turn helped them reach Paris safely.. It's incredible how much media interest the girls got, how they dealt with it (sometimes with Kader's help), how Mireille felt about the whole situation, and what the future will hold for the girls. I'd love a sequel to this, because I didn't want the book to end. I'm sure the girls have plenty more hurdles to face, since that is what anyone's life is about. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend what the girls do, there is always a way out from bullying, so tell a trusted adult who can help. 

Find out more on Clementine's website.

Suggested read
Another feel good Young Adult read about friendship and overcoming hardship is The Secret Cooking Club by Laurel Remington, Young Adult, 10E/10E (short 'n' sweet review)

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